Column: Forget groceries - Amazon's latest play in China is the real news
Selling gourmet cupcakes in Los Angeles is easy. You know what’s hard? Selling books in China. Actually, selling anything in China is hard. Even if you’re Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN).
Yesterday’s news that Amazon will expand its grocery business to the Los Angeles area, after a five-year-long trial on its home turf in Seattle, got all the attention. But the real headliner should have been the latest step in Amazon’s long, hard road to profits in China.
After a lengthy delay — probably caused by Chinese government regulatory hurdles, although Amazon isn’t saying — the Kindle e-reader and the Kindle Fire tablet finally went on sale Monday on Amazon’s China site with a splashy display that is easy translated even if you can’t read Chinese: “Buy a Kindle and read Life of Pi now!” The device is also on sale at kiosks inside two major retail store chains on the mainland.